Is a Middle East NATO even possible today? - TAHA KILINÇ

Is a Middle East NATO even possible today?

Speaking to Hadley Gamble in an interview with CNBC, King Abdullah II of Jordan said he would endorse the idea of establishing a Middle Eastern NATO.

"I was one of the first to bring this issue up," he continued. Recalling that Jordan has been working "shoulder to shoulder" on many issues with NATO for decades, King Abdullah said: "We see ourselves as a natural part of the North Atlantic Alliance." The King stated the following on the subject: “Such an umbrella alliance can and should be established. But its mission, vision, framework, and scope must be well-defined. If this is not done, it will further increase chaos in the region. Apart from security and military cooperation, Middle Eastern countries have already started to cooperate and work together due to the war in Ukraine. We get together and reflect on how we can help each other. Solidarity is a rather unusual sight for the region we live in. At this point, countries that have oil but no wheat also need help. Nobody wants war and conflict.”

When the head of a state, which does not have any natural resources such as oil or natural gas, and straddles regional and international balances to maintain its existence thanks to economic aid and foreign support, makes such statements, of course, it then begs the question: "Well, is a Middle Eastern NATO even possible?"  Because Jordan does not have what it takes to lead a project of this magnitude.

The Middle East, which is extremely open to external influences today, as it has throughout history, is a battleground for ideologies and the states that sponsor them. On the one hand, Shi'ism, which Iran has spearheaded and weaponized in the region, on the other, Israel's occupation ideology, Zionism, Arab nationalism struggling not to take its last breath in this turmoil, Ummahism, the influence of which has reached a breaking point with the developments of the last few years. and their benefactors: the U.S., Europe, Russia, and even China… While Shiism and Zionism, with their reactionary attitudes, turn into carbon copies of each other in terms of their existence and methods, the Iranian front is focused on gaining sympathy from the Muslim peoples; Israel, on the other hand, seeks to strengthen its position in the eyes of the economic and political elites. So far, there are fields where they have each partially succeeded.

In such a chaotic atmosphere, the possibility of a "Middle Eastern NATO" vanishes into thin air. Even considering the Israeli-Palestinian issue alone, it becomes clear that there is no easy solution to the fundamental problems of the Middle East:

Conceptual differences in the minds of the Muslim world lie at the root of the problems swirling around Palestine. Each country's vision of Palestine is different. Every country has a different view of the crisis. Each country's priority is different. The sensibilities of each country are different. Therefore, the solutions proposed and prerequisites of each country are different. If the Muslim players of the Middle East sit around a table and start talking and discussing Palestine, the issue will become "who will win what" in a matter of minutes. As such, the history of the Palestinian struggle is full of zero-sum games as players "deliberately and persistently hinder the solution just so that their opponent does not win".

(Of course, it should be noted that the situation I am talking about is not unique to the Middle East and the Muslim world. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which was launched in February and is still ongoing, has revealed that the West is incapable of solving such a critical problem. Here, too, the root of the problem is the same. The problem lies in the fact that each country looks at the issue from a completely different point of view, from the perspective of preserving its own position, which is why the world has to do nothing and watch repeats of what transpired in Chechnya and Syria from the sidelines.)

Although a "Middle Eastern NATO" is impossible, the thinking minds of the Muslim world should not give up their determination to find solutions to the huge problems that pile up with every passing day. Moreover, this practice is already the work of civil-minded intellectuals, thinkers, and scholars before politicians or heads of state. I attach particular importance to the adjective "civil-minded". With the emphasis on not "getting caught in the quagmire of agendas, adjusting stances to suit the current juncture, and being swayed by fleeting distractions..."

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